Outdoor Experience Hiking Trip

Vermont is a special place. The Outdoor Experience is geared toward UVM students who value the connection to the world beyond our halls. 

This community fosters a space for continual development of self, teamwork, and leadership in an inclusive environment free of the presence and influence of alcohol, cannibas, and other drugs.



Throughout your time in this residential learning community, you will explore various parts of Vermont, cultivate a wider understanding of what is included in the phrase “Outdoor Experience,” and hopefully create and maintain meaningful connections with your peers, mentors, and Vermont outdoors along the way.

  • All new first-time, first-year students in the Outdoor Experience Learning Community will be enrolled in the one-credit class Vermont Outdoor Experience (PRT 096), which will increase students' understanding of themselves in relationship to the community and the natural world.
  • Current UVM students living in the Outdoor Experience Learning Community will have the option to apply for an enhanced experience. If admitted, students will receive additional benefits, including special programming options, leadership opportunities, and possibly an option to enroll in a seminar and earn credit.
  • In Outdoor Experience, ALL STUDENTS and are expected to commit to Community Expectations, keeping alcohol, cannabis, other drugs—and their influence—out of our community.



Whether you are seeking to explore the outdoors for the first time, or you already are “one with nature” and quickly jump into outdoor activities, the Outdoor Experience fosters a space for continual development of self-awareness, teamwork, and leadership in an inclusive community.

The Outdoor Experience is designed to appeal to students who are interested in learning about and engaging with the outdoors, with a focus on the natural environment of Burlington and Vermont. It is our intent that this will appeal to a broad range of students, from students with little-to-no previous outdoor experience, to students who already engage deeply in outdoor activities. We offer a number of community gatherings, presentations, workshops, guided activities and self-designed experiences, all of which are intended to build a diverse and engaged community of students, encourage self-discovery and teamwork, and promote development of leadership skills.

Each member of Outdoor Experience brings in a unique set of attributes, and when positively contributed, lends to the success of the community. As we grow and explore individually and as a community, recognizing these values means we must place special attention on actions that can be disruptive. We must be considerate of individuals’ needs and be respectful of our home and throughout all environments in which we travel. Stewardship starts at home as a way to practice and live with integrity.

Students will:

  • Become engaged in a variety of outdoor recreation activities and places throughout Burlington and Vermont.
  • Experience and reflect upon the positive beneficial outcomes of balanced and diverse recreational lifestyles.
  • Be introduced to principles of land management, community development, and planning for positive recreational experiences.
  • Work to foster a space for continual self-awareness, awareness of others' experiences and needs, teamwork, and outdoor leadership in an inclusive community.


Students in their first year will build community by living together in the Outdoor Experience “Base Camp.” Here faculty and staff will hold classes and workshops, and student leaders will engage in community-bonding activities, including field trips. Also, returning students living in small pods will serve as designated "compasses" to orient and connect first years to other OE Camps where returning students live by outdoor pursuits.


Students in their second-plus year can choose housing in one of the three areas, and also apply for a variety of student leader positions. 
  • Compass Points: Small groups of returners (6-8) will select to live and connect with first-year students in the OE Base Camp. This over-arching approach to outdoors will help introduce and direct students toward further exploration.
  • Coolidge Camps:  At "The Lodge," students select to live in camps based on common outdoor pursuit. In addition to equipment maintenance and storage spaces, these camps will have access to additional resources to drive these unique interests. Choices may include:
    • Ski & Snowboard: back-country, skinning, splitboard, Nordic, park, telemark, etc.
    • Outdoor Ascend: climbing, hiking, ice climbing, snowshoeing, mountain biking
    • On Water: kayaking, canoeing, sailing, boating, SUP, swimming
    • Natural World: birdwatching, gardening, animal tracking, foraging, fishing, hunting
    • Naturalist Skills: Leave No Trace principles, outdoor skills, survivalist, orienteering
  • Enhanced Experience—Adventureship: This is the Advance Camp, specifically set aside for students trained and willing to lead our trips and outings. Students will apply to live here who have been trained through Outing Club, Ropes Course, and/or have been Wilderness First Aid certified, or other comparable trainings. (Must return to campus one week before classes begin, and required to lead at least two trips each semester.)
  • Student Leadership Opportunities:
    • Resident Advisor: Primary resource for students in our community to build a sense of home. Applications open November 30.
    • Community Leader: Work closely with OE staff to develop full community activities and participate in OE traditions. Applications open mid-February (Must return to campus one week before classes begin.)
    • Teaching Assistant: Instruct the first-year course. Enroll in a supplemental TA course to ensure a quality student experience. Applications open in March.
    • Hall Council: Be the voice of the OE community.


  • Exploring the Burlington Waterfront and Various Burlington Parks
  • Hike Mt. Philo
  • Full Moonlight Hike
  • Kayaking at Sailing Center
  • Yoga at the Beach
  • Mountain Biking Overnights
  • Camping
  • Apple-Picking
  • Gleaning at the Intervale
  • Ropes Course
  • Catamountain Classic
  • Outdoor Film Festivals
  • Rock-Climbing


Locations for 2019-2020: Davis, Coolidge, Redstone, Slade, Wing, Wilks

Please check your housing contract for more specific location information.


Shaquan Womack
Area Coordinator


Sammy Yang
Area Coordinator

Marty Burrows
Progam Director


Kiana Best 
Program Coordinator


Maya Dizack
Program Coordinator


Megan Meinen
Program Specialist


Jamie Struck
Program Specialist


Walter Kuentzel
Faculty Associate


Michael Blouin
Faculty Associate


Christine Vatovec
Faculty Associate


What excites us about The Outdoor Experience? We love seeing students be able to get off campus and experience areas of Vermont that are new for them. Expanding everyone’s definition of what it means to be in the outdoors, in ways as simple as sitting under a tree.


First-Year Read